The return of injured Eagles on Thursday included linebacker Jordan Hicks, who was back with the starting defense after he was limited during the spring while recovering from a torn Achilles tendon. Hicks, one of the Eagles' best players when healthy, has finished two of his three NFL seasons on injured reserve. His latest injury occurred in October.
"A little rusty, but it's rewarding to be back out there when you think about all the things…that go into it," Hicks said. "The pressures, the thoughts, everything you have to overcome and were able to achieve throughout that whole process, and it all pays off on the first day. I know it's early, but it's extremely rewarding."
During the spring, Hicks was reluctant to say whether he would be a full participant during training camp. He admitted on Thursday that training camp was always the goal. His availability is critical for the Eagles this season, especially considering the release of Mychal Kendricks and uncertainty about the team's linebacker depth. If Hicks and Nigel Bradham are on the field, though, the Eagles can be confident in their linebackers for the majority of the game. Hicks knows there's still six weeks ahead, but it was a good start.
"It's Day 1. I got a few reps in the grand scheme of things," Hicks said. "I think we're right on track."
Bradham thought he was in the clear, as the two-year anniversary of his altercation with a Miami Beach hotel worker neared, but this was not the case.
Bradham, who accepted a deferred prosecution program after being charged with assault, received word this summer that he would be suspended six games under the NFL's personal conduct policy, Bradham told 97.3 ESPN after the Eagles' first training-camp practice Thursday at the NovaCare Complex. Bradham said he appealed and got the suspension reduced to the one-game sanction that the league announced last month. Bradham, 28, will miss the season opener against Atlanta.
Earlier, Bradham told reporters: "I definitely was surprised by it. I wasn't expecting it, for sure. But it is what it is. I definitely thought it was over. Everything was handled on the [legal] side. So I definitely thought it was over. Obviously not, man. But I got to continue to focus on me and get ready for Week 2."